What Being A Christian DOESN’T Mean (Unlike What You May Think)

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I don’t know how to say this more gently but…

Just because you’re a Christian doesn’t make you a big deal. It doesn’t mean God loves you more. It doesn’t give you extra clout. It doesn’t magically make you more deserving. It doesn’t make you more worthy of love than anyone else.

It’s Christ in you that sets you apart. Christ. Not you.

You do not accept Christ to be accepted by Him, He already loved you first. Before you even made one good decision, He loved you as His own. Instead, you accept Him because you need Him. You accept Him as your Saviour because He loves you. Not so that He will love you. He deeply desires companionship with you, but you’re the one who needs it. You need His direction. You need Him in order to be eternally saved. But never, ever forget that He loved you first, and that same truth goes for everyone else.

I think believing that to its core would change the way we interact with those who don’t share our beliefs. We would realize we’re not so different from each other. That we can all learn something from each other. We would be more aware of the fact that there’s nothing special about us at all, only something very, very special about Christ.

Let us not forget that we all came from the same place, are made and loved by the same God, and have all, every single one of us, been pursued by the same God, more than we could ever comprehend or make sense of.

If you have accepted Christ into your heart, praise the Lord. That’s amazing. That’s honestly the best news ever. That’s the most I would genuinely ever want for you, because Jesus is everything and more.

But, never forget where you came from. Don’t forget what He’s saved you from, and where you would be without Him. And if you’re not a believer, please know this: it’s a level playing field. Not one of us deserves the life, freedom, and peace that come from Jesus. It’s truly a gift equally available for all of us. We weren’t born with some special inheritance or security that you weren’t.

It doesn’t take a special type of person to have Christ as their Saviour, it’s a special kind of Saviour who loves us all with a special kind of love. It’s a special kind of Saviour who offers us all a special kind of grace, mercy, and redemption. And that right there, is what makes all the difference.

Does being a Christian involve commitment, self-denial, and sacrifice?

A thousand times yes.

But never first without Christ giving His loving sacrifice when we didn’t deserve it.

And that’s how we’re all still here in the first place.

How I’ve Gotten Empathy Wrong

Perhaps it’s rare to have too much empathy.

Empathy is a word that’s been sitting persistently on my mind the last while. It came to me in a new way a couple months ago, and ever since, I haven’t really ever forgotten it. You may be confused why empathy would be a new idea to me, and the answer is, it’s definitely not. It’s the realization of the true depth of empathy and how it changes the way you live your life, that’s kind of shaken the core of my beliefs, and what I thought was true and right. And to be quite honest, it’s been shifting my perspective and opening my eyes to things I just didn’t see this way before. As cold-hearted as this sounds, I think some of us could agree that in our humanity, there can be a temptation to close our eyes to this sort of realization. It can require a lot of risk. It’s humbling. It points out the many things we don’t know, and how much we’re totally not in control.

Lately I’ve been asking myself this question, “Is it possible that we sometimes allow ourselves to be triggered by the mention of empathy and grace, because we fear the lack of control that comes with it?” It’s possible to give someone too much grace, and not enough tough love, depending on the circumstance, but maybe we use that as an excuse sometimes for not giving enough grace.

Maybe sometimes it’s actually a lot of control and fear that gets in the way of how we love other people, and how we empathize with them. It can be a hard thought to accept.

Because unfortunately, empathy isn’t always our first reaction.

Instead, we just wanna fix things.

We want control of the situation.

We want to exterminate the problem. Just get rid of it as quick as possible.

We want to be efficient.

And sometimes we almost glorify these things. But God doesn’t always operate that way, and neither does life. It’s very possible we still had good intentions behind these things, but actually line this idea up with Scripture and, well, maybe it looks a little crooked. Maybe it’s something you can actually poke a lot of holes through.

The actual idea of empathy can almost feel too deep for words sometimes. A little difficult to explain because, ironically, maybe true empathy doesn’t require a lot of words, and maybe there’s no step-by-step, black and white manual for it. Maybe sometimes it’s messy.

And maybe empathy isn’t something you just show, but something you have, give, and live. From a deeper place in your heart.

Maybe true empathy requires

More of our time.

More of our hearts.

More listening.

More understanding.

More intentionality.

More courage.

More encouragement.

Less advice.

Less fear.

Less focus on self.

Less cautious guarding of our reputation.

Less trying to be God.

Less assuming.

Less judgment.

Less pride.

Less agenda.

Less wrestling for control of the situation.

And maybe true empathy has a lot to do with this Truth: “There is only one Healer, there is only one Almighty, there is only one who is all-knowing, there is only one Righteous Judge, and I am not it. By my own strength, I cannot heal, I cannot fix, I often won’t have the power to instantly change a situation, or even necessarily make sense of it, and I don’t know all the answers. But I can have compassion. I can have empathy. I can pray, and I can sit with a hurting human as a fellow human, with a human heart and human emotions, and walk alongside them anyways. Not unsuccessfully trying to fill the role of God, but just simply filling the role of a human friend who cares.

As I write that, I catch myself taking a deeper, relaxed breath. Because maybe that’s all God expects of me. Trying to “be God” is exhausting anyways, and nobody wins. Maybe the way you win, is just by being on the same team. Being together. On the same level. Side by side.

There’s so much God has to say about empathy, and there’s an overwhelming amount of things I do not yet know about it. But I know I want more of it. Seventy times seven.

A Hope We Can Count On

Credits to the little sis for posing. Even my mom got confused who it was, haha!

Anyone else heard the phrase “unprecedented times” more than once recently? I looked up its definition, wondering just what exactly it would give me:

“Never before known or experienced; unexampled or unparalleled.”

Sometimes that might mean exciting things, but more often we seem to be saying (especially right now),

“We weren’t ready for this. We have no idea what we’re doing. This wasn’t in my schedule! Who would’ve thought this is where we’d be in a year? Remember when we were all talking about 2020 vision? Ha!”

Sometimes it’s tough not to get overwhelmed and frustrated by all the negativity, varying opinions, endless news reports, and just plain confusion of what’s all going on in our world right now.

I couldn’t tell you much about what I know about this chaos, but I could tell you alot about what I don’t know. Except that’s not the point. But if sometimes, like me, you struggle to see the good in all of this, I leave these verses with you from Isaiah:

“For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places; and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.” 51:3

“Break forth into joy, sing together, ye waste places of Jerusalem: for the Lord hath comforted his people, he hath redeemed Jerusalem.” 52:9

Too often I forget that, even though these times are unprecedented for us, they’re not for God. He’s not surprised or alarmed. This isn’t new to Him like it is to the rest of us. And there’s still so much to be thankful for. There’s still so much hope, and the most important things in life are far from out of reach.

The other night, I couldn’t sleep for several hours, which is very rare for me. And what did I do but try everything else I could think of that might help me fall asleep, before turning to God’s Word as my last resort. Too often this is the case. When in reality, nothing or no one can bring true peace and rest like God and His Truth can. He remains the same through all the chaos and confusion and all I have to do is believe. I’m so glad that He can work with faith the size of a mustard seed, because sometimes that’s all I’ve got.

And in the meantime,

God still has a vision for 2020.

He never stops working.

And what’s most important is still within our reach.

We still have too many blessings to count. But let’s try counting them anyway.

A Powerful Testimony of the Gift of Life (Guest Post)

Hi friends and blessings to you all! The following powerful and sincere testimony has been written by a dear friend who humbly would like to stay anonymous. Please read it and allow it to turn your eyes upon Jesus and His gift of life specially designed and given to you. There is a purpose designed just for you that is far greater than yourself. May you be encouraged and blessed as you read.

There is a joy that comes from deep inside, which brings tears to my eyes, when I look back and see what the Lord has done in me. I am reminded of my unique testimony of my amazing God, and I would like to share it with you.

As a two year old, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Neuroblastoma to be exact. I know, big word! I was in the hospital for 9 months receiving treatment, surgeries, a transplant, and lots of needles. Of course I don’t remember it, but I have the scars and they are just as real to me.

In the world’s eyes I wasn’t supposed to live, being I only had a 40% survival rate. But that’s the thing about God, He does the unexpected. If it weren’t for Him and the prayers of others I probably wouldn’t be here today.

As a child to a teen, I was as normal as any other kid, except for one thing…I had a hearing disability. I didn’t want to answer questions like, “What are those things in your ears?” and statements such as “There’s got to be a reason you’re so short.”

I didn’t understand why it had to happen, and I wished I could remember what those I loved must have gone through, the pain that they felt. Still do. If I’m being completely honest, I chose to be bitter instead of grateful at times. I let myself become frustrated over the side effects I had to live with. I’ve learned that that is what happens when I take my eyes off Christ.

I still struggle with this at times, but I see myself through a new set of eyes now, and those are the eyes of Jesus. You see, I had to learn that I have been created for a greater purpose. One that is eternal. One that glorifies and causes me to worship my God.

He has the power to give and to take away. The choice is His alone. He chose to give me physical and eternal life. He could’ve said no, but He said yes!

My friends, I want you to get this…God chooses to give each of us life!

In His kindness God called you to share in His glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, He will restore, support, and strengthen you, and He will place you on a firm foundation. -1 Peter 5:10 NLT

He could’ve destroyed us long ago, He has that power! But He chooses to give because that is who He is! He gave us His Son willingly to die, so we wouldn’t have to.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. -John 15:13 NLT

Jesus did this, and more. Jesus has made us friends of God, and calls us to a relationship with Him.

So, now the choice is ours. Will we say no? No to giving back this life to the one Who gave it to us in the first place? Or will we say YES!

Until the Lights Turned On

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They thought they were alone

Until the lights turned on.

In a dark room,

Wading through their own problems

With no answers.

Trying to find clarity in the muddled mess

Of human existence in a broken world.

Where were the answers they were looking for?

What was the meaning of

Words like hope, peace, freedom, joy…?

Up to this point, they had only been

Words whispered outside these four cold walls:

Barely heard above the noisy din of life,

Not much more than a vapor, and





How to get from here to there, they had no idea.

Backs against the wall, heads bowed in defeat.

They knew only the agony of isolation,

Not the blanket of peaceful solitude.

person holding light bulb with string lights inside
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Then the lights turned on.

They covered their eyes to adjust to the blinding brightness.

One looked up, and saw another.

And then another saw another.

Their eyes were filled with wonder and questioning.

Each one had thought they were alone,

But then the light turned on.


But wait a second, where was this light coming from?

One by one, they turned their gaze.

Could it be?

It was not just the light-

It was the Light.

It was not just the sun-

It was the Son.


It was the Healer Himself.

Come to heal the wounds,

Answer the questions,

Deliver the truth,

Spread the love,

Save the souls,

And dispel the darkness.

light bulb and keys on table
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In His outstretched hand, He held a key.

He asked only one thing of them that day,

Short and simple:

“Come. Rise up, and follow me.”

Did that mean life was forever simple

For those who followed? Absolutely not.

There were episodes of doubt amidst all the unknown.

There were times they questioned why they had followed.

There were storms, fog, valleys, and questions.

silhouette photography of houses
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But because of the Light Himself,

Hope was no longer just a vapour.

It was available.

Love was no longer a fairy tale.

It was the essence of true, abundant life itself.

Freedom was not only a dream.

It was reality.

Joy was not only written on the wish list.

It was written on their faces.


They thought they were alone,

Until the Light came in.


“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” {John 1:4,5}

aerial photo of mountain surrounded by fog
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LIFE as We Know It

“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

I had read the verse before. Numerous times. But this time, it jumped out at me in a whole new light. God creating a living soul from the dust of the earth and breathing life into him? This is actually incredible. No one else could do that. Yet we talk of this miracle almost as if it was just another day in the life of Adam. But it wasn’t just another day. It was THE day. The first day, actually. In fact, it was the very first day for human life to set foot on the earth that God had created. Just think of all that has taken place with humanity since then.

Do you think creating people after His own image and likeness was an afterthought? Do you think He had a weak moment when He created us, not fully realizing how much chaos and disaster we could actually cause? Those are rhetorical questions, folks. No, and no. When I was reading that passage in Genesis, I was guilty of skimming through, half of my brain focusing on what I was reading, and the other half telling me in a grating voice how many times I’ve heard this passage. Then I came to that verse about God creating man from the dust of the earth and breathing life into his soul and it made me stop and exhale. Life, my friends. For what?

It brought to mind a line from a poem that captured my attention: dust thou art, to dust returnest. What did it really mean?

I thought it fitting to include on here: the whole piece of poetic art, with the title fitting right in:

A Psalm of Life

Tell me not, in mournful numbers

Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,

Is our destined end or way;

But to act, that each tomorrow

Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,

And our hearts, though stout and brave,

Still, like muffled drums, are beating

Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world’s broad field of battle,

In the bivouac of Life,

Be not like dumb, driven cattle!

Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe’er pleasant!

Let the dead Past bury its dead!

Act- act in the living Present!

Heart within, and God o’erhead!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Now, if you’re looking at me cross-eyed because I brought poetry into all of this, and also because you have no clue what bivouac means, relax and hang tight.

First of all, I know that poetry is not even close to being appreciated as much as it was years ago, and I think it’s sad. We’re missing so much. We start whimpering as soon as we don’t know what an odd word or phrase means, and then set it aside to check the feeds for the gazillionth time and painstakingly read paragraphs of hashtags in which the words don’t even have spaces between them and the only punctuation is a flood of “pound signs” all over the place. Are we really that much more brilliant than the people of the “Poetic Age”? Okay, end of rant about hashtags from a person who uses hashtags.

Secondly, I had no idea what bivouac meant either, so I looked it up. And this is the beauty of finding the deeper meaning behind certain words or phrases.

Bivouac means…

a temporary camp without tents or cover, used especially by soldiers or mountaineers.

Look back and see how the word is used. It makes sense, doesn’t it? It helps us create a vivid mind picture. Life is like that. Often we feel vulnerable, exposed to the elements., lacking complete security. There’s a lot of risks to be taken, and chances for mistakes. Yet here we are, called to something higher from the most High God.

The “dust thou art, to dust returnest” comes from Ecclesiastes 3:20: “All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”

Think about it, my friends. It can start to sound like our lives and our efforts are worthless. As if all that’s done is undone once again in the end. The truth of this depends solely on what we are investing in. If it’s all earthly, then the harsh reality is that yes, it is all completely in vain. It’s a sobering thought.

How is it that the temporary things of this earth can so soon appear to be the most important and the most urgent? I’m asking because I know from experience how quickly and frequently we can find ourselves there.

I don’t have answers, but I have questions. God breathed life into our souls for a reason. It wasn’t His intent for us to just float along through life aimlessly.

Can we grasp the fact that God actually chose us as weak, imperfect, disastrous, sinful human beings to carry out His perfect calling?

I can’t. It’s nothing short of a miracle. At the same time, it can be so overwhelming. Where do we start? What are we to do? There’s a lot of unknowns, and our strength fails us. But who are we kidding? We could never have existed without God in the picture. So what makes us think we can now?

So we tell our fearful beating hearts to believe with all our strength that with God all things are possible, and that’s really all the strength we need.

Wanna know something? Your faith is going to move mountains. And that, my friend, will not go to nothing.

P.S. Go read Ecclesiastes 3 (with both halves of your brain). No matter how many times you’ve heard it before, I promise you will be blessed.

A Note to Self and a Letter for You

Hey! Guess what? It’s been awhile. Like a really long while. But I’m glad to be back to share my two cents here and there. I came across this pep talk in my archives that I had written in the past as a note to self, and I hope and pray that maybe, just maybe, you can take something from this too. I don’t know where you’re at but one thing I know, you’re awesome. And awesome people deserve letters once in awhile, so this one’s for you:Dear child of God,Stop running.Stop running from your fears, and face them instead.Stop running through life at this mad pace and ignoring the warning signs popping up around you.Stop. Just stop long enough to catch your breath, heal, and gather the strength to move on.Stop focusing on yourself and your short-comings. Instead, focus your attention on the God Who holds all power. The One Who is full of goodness and grace and all those things that perhaps sound so cliche but really, they’re 100% truth.Start believing. Believe, child. Believe that God is on your side, because guess what? He actually is. For real and for serious. He’s fighting for you, not against you.Light begins to dawn when you toss unbelief to the wind, wash your hands in the rivers of redemption, and slip them into the hands of the good, good Father.When you learn to know God more in a personal way, things begin to make a lot more sense.The puzzle comes together.The waves calm.The storms die down.The vision clears.The steps become more sure.No, I’m not saying your surroundings or circumstances will change, I’m saying that your outlook on them will, and that makes a big difference.The focus is taken off of self.The victim experiences victory.The one in bonds tastes freedom.Pray. Pray hard. Pray often. Pray in faith. Just pray lots, and reap the benefits in due time. Then, remember to thank the One who proves Himself faithful every single time.When things don’t make sense, don’t freak out. It makes sense to Someone, and that’s all that really matters.In time, you’ll understand. In time, you’ll see what He had up his sleeve. Just you wait.Sincerely,the pep talker

The Rant About Life, Messes, and Reality. You’re Welcome.

Life looks messy sometimes. Things don’t go as planned, we make the wrong choices, we fail, we try again.

Sometimes trying to cover up and ignore the mess seems like the easiest way out. Everyone else seems to have their lives together, and we fear to admit our weaknesses and mistakes. Yet we all know that the reality is, no one has their life completely figured out and perfectly in line. Life happens and so do clumsy and messy things. Am I the only one who can get caught up in what I should be doing and where I should be at and what my life should look like?

I’ve heard a comment made that went like this: “But I have no excuse to be sad.”

To this, the wise advisor replied, “You’re human. You don’t need an excuse.”

For some reason, that comment stuck with me. Too often I’ve found myself in the rut of believing I need to have a rehearsed reason for everything I’m doing and feeling.

What if we all gave each other just a little more grace? What if we accepted that we don’t need to understand everyone’s intentions right away? What if we left the confining mold and high ideals for humanity behind and let ourselves realize that not one person is the same and that we were not created for molds?

What if we were reminded that instead of being created for a mold, God molded us with His own hands. Each with a specific, individual plan and purpose in mind.

The whole line of events leading up to our rescue story on the day of Jesus’ crucifixion got really messy.

Did Jesus’ followers always approve of the places He went, the things He did, and the people He took time for?

Not in my Bible.

Do you think Jesus’ friends and disciples always understood why He did what He did and why He had to die such a gruesome death?

Call me Thomas but I doubt it.

Did the “know-it-alls” in the society of Jesus’ time actually know it all?


Did all this stop God from working His plan for our salvation?

Not a chance.

Through the miraculous story of our salvation, we can take this with us:

God actually specializes in messes. Sometimes the most amazing things happen in places no one ever dreamed.


Well, do you think God needs our help to figure those things out?

Maybe He doesn’t.

Maybe He just needs us to trust Him, believe in the good of others, and let Him do the rest.

Do you think God waits around for OUR approval on HIS plans?

Call me Thomas, but I doubt it again.

Criticism doesn’t burst His ego.

Negative feedback doesn’t shake His confidence.

He is God. He knows what He’s doing.

And let’s admit it, sometimes we do not. Throughout His whole plan of salvation, it took a major overthrowing of society’s expectations to bring us where we are today.

Traditions were broken.

Expectations weren’t met.

The religious ones were wrong.

Did things always make sense to our people?


Does that stop God from working His wonders?

Also nope.

His ways are so much higher than ours, and that’s what makes life beautiful.

Of Unknowns, Circumstances, and Moving Onward

Dear you. Find the following scenario relatable? Put your name in it, know you’re not alone, and take heart.

She stood on the mountaintop, surveying the journey ahead of her as the golden sun beat down on her tired face.

Now what? She had no perfectly-planned itinerary to view before she continued on. Truth be told, that was exactly what she craved at the moment: something or someone to tell her the exact order of events and their outcomes.

Something or someone to keep her from one of her biggest enemies: failure.

There was no telling what was waiting for her around the next corner. In her state of fear and uncertainty, the rocks and thorns beneath her feet seemed to mock her with no mercy.

Why had she signed up for all of this in the first place? Or had she signed up at all? Shouldn’t someone more qualified be in her shoes right now? Everyone else seemed to know what they were doing. Or did it just appear that way?

Her questions hung heavy and unanswered in the atmosphere that surrounded her.

Not too long ago, things had appeared different to her. Perhaps more reliable and predictable. But things had taken a sudden turn. The scenery was different than she was expecting, and the route suddenly looked much different than she had first hoped for.

And what else had changed since that moment of clarity?

Oh yeah.

Regretfully, she kicked at a loose rock nearby, hanging her head in confusion and shame.

In a moment of pride and stubborn ignorance, she had turned her attention from the wisdom of her Guide and blazed on ahead. Perhaps it had been when the going was easy and the problems were few.

But only now did she realize the magnitude of her mistake.

Standing at the top of this mountain, where the breezes carried scents of things both bitter and sweet, she faced yet more decisions. More forks in the road.

Ahead of her lay several different paths, all leading her in a different direction. But which one was she to take?

She dreaded making yet another bad choice. In the atmosphere of isolation and solitude that surrounded her, everything seemed to hang heavy, including the load on her back.

This was too much. Things hadn’t turned out like she had thought they would.

With a heaving sigh, she turned her back on every single path in front of her and chose instead to set foot on the one behind.

Maybe if she turned back and retraced her steps, she could recover what had been lost and redo the areas in which she had failed.Maybe she could even find someone more qualified to take her place in the journey.

In any case, the unknown future looked overwhelming. Too big for someone so small.

In desperation, she cupped her hands to her mouth and called, “Hello? Anybody around? Where’s my Guide? Can someone help me?”

Not expecting a reply, she jumped at the sound of rustling brush and a voice that came back with a calm, gentle answer.

Could it be? Yes, it was! It was the Guide Himself!

Hastily, she began to explain, “I’ve decided to turn back. The path ahead looks too complicated and complex for me. Perhaps you should find someone else for this journey You had in mind.

“It’s turning out different than I was expecting, and it seems to require someone more qualified than I.”

She studied the ground beneath her feet and waited for His response.

“Wait. There’s something you’re not understanding,” He began, “There’s no one more qualified for this journey than you. This is your journey. One of those paths you have not yet taken leads you to your destination.

“But since you’re already turned towards the past, let’s stop and take a look at it.”

Reluctantly, she gave in and followed his gaze to the miles that had already been covered.

“Child,” He continued, “Think back to the place where it all started. Remember who you were back then? Remember how it all began?”

She squinted her eyes, half in deep thought and half in attempt to look back as far as she could.

So much had happened since then. It was hard to get a clear picture in her mind of where it had all started, but there was one thing she knew; she was different. Things were different. Understanding began to enlighten her face and spark in her eyes.

Her Guide smiled knowingly and stated, “Look at you, child. You’ve grown. You’ve changed. Has everything been easy? Most definitely not.

“But look at what each of those circumstances have done for you. They’ve played a role in shaping who you are today. They’ve challenged you. Strengthened you. Equipped you.”

With curiosity, she inquired, “Equipped me for what?”

“That’s what you’re about to find out. If you choose to follow me.”

“So you’re not looking for someone more qualified?”

“No, child. This is your journey. Not someone else’s. To have me as your Guide says you’re qualified.

“You can choose to hang back and dwell on the past, but that’s as far as you’ll get. You can’t change it. Do you know what you can do? You can follow me and keep moving forward in faith.”

With deepest compassion, He extended His hand and the invitation, “There are good things waiting, but we must keep travelling to get there. It won’t all be easy, but I can promise you it will be worth it. Now, will you come?”

Yes. It was a for sure yes. She would leave her expired travel plans behind and come.

She reached for His hand and rose to her feet. His grip was strong and His step was sure, and it was then that she knew; she couldn’t have asked for a better Guide. Everything really would be okay and worth it after all. With Him, there was strength, and there was enough.

And what was this strange new sensation rising within her chest? Why, she was excited! Full of anticipation.

There was something almost exhilarating about the unknown. Before them lay a wealth of opportunity and adventure, right in amidst the trials and tough going.

With a spring in her step, she looked up, smiled, and stated with deepest of sincerity, “I trust You, and You are good.”

And with equal sincerity, he replied, “I love you, and you will be blessed.

And so they went. Onward.

So can you, my dear friend. So can you. For with Him all things are possible. Hallelujah.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9

Lessons I Learned Upside Down


This past summer, I was told that your seventeenth year is usually your best year.

This past summer, I turned seventeen.

I was determined to make my seventeenth year the best one yet.

But guess what happened only several days after my seventeenth birthday?

Someone stuck their finger in the waters of my high ideals and sent them swirling, and I was left staring death in the face. What a great start. Let me explain myself.

I was on my way home from a church function, and my brain was on high speed. I was thinking back over the day and the past week, and mentally organizing what all had to happen in the week ahead of me. Things would have to work out just so, and there wasn’t much time for glitches in the system. I was exceptionally busy during that time, and, I’ll have to admit, I was being a bit of a control freak.

The picture somewhat disturbs me. Imagine a child, clenching something tightly inside his fist. You know it’s unsafe for him to have it, so you attempt to retrieve it for the sake of his safety. Instead of willingly handing it over to you, he stubbornly curls his fingers even tighter around the object and holds it close to him in refusal. Probably even says, “Mine!”

I was kinda like that child. I was holding things too tightly, for fear of things swirling into chaos. Did it work? Obviously not. Not at all.

Because not much later, I lost control on the loose gravel of the back road I was driving and was sent sailing over the edge.


One of the first things that went through my head as I saw the control slipping out of my hands was,”No, this can’t be happening to me. ”

It sounds foolish, I know. I was pretty much telling God, “Hey, this wasn’t on the agenda. I don’t have time for this. I don’t have time to die. What’s going on?”

Like that mattered right then.

You can’t fully understand the feeling of being weighed in the balance between death and life until you’ve experienced it yourself. I was told later by the police who responded and investigated that I had rolled end over end and side over side, and part of me wasn’t entirely surprised, based on how the scenery had been in those few seconds of action. I was surprised, however, by the fact that I could remember a lot of the details very vividly.

The kind officer came up to where I was sitting and asked me again, “You’re still feeling okay?”

“Yes,” I replied with confidence, “I am.”

“You’re lucky to be alive, you realize that?” he stated gravely.


It wasn’t luck, but I knew what he meant. And yes, I realized it, even though I didn’t understand it. In fact, no one seemed to.

The paramedics came, asked me questions and checked me over. Their responses and facial expressions seemed to say, “How can you just be totally okay? There’s gotta be something wrong somewhere.”

At the end of the examination, the paramedic graciously stated, “Well, everything seems to be fine except your heart rate is a little high…”

I almost burst out laughing. In the ambulance. With a bunch of confused paramedics. Not recommended. Unless you’re in the mood to get airlifted.

So my heart rate was a little high? What a surprise. And a relief.

That night, God seemed to say, “You want a good year? First things first, you must be reminded who’s in control.” And was I ever reminded. The hard way, of course.

The next thing on God’s agenda with me that night was to show me what I really needed. The things that would really stand the test of time. The things that were really of most importance. And it turns out, those “things” weren’t actually things at all.


He left my Bible and the above birthday card right on the passenger seat while everything else was thrown out the windows, back up on the middle of the road, down the ditch, across the field, everywhere. Even my glasses had flown off my head and into the backseat. But God’s divine Word stayed glued to the seat. Is that a miracle, or is that a miracle?

When the action stopped and I realized I was still alive and moving and able to get out, I jumped out and immediately began searching for my phone, gathering CD cases, birthday gifts, glasses, and a shoe along the way. I couldn’t find it anywhere. If you had been witnessing the scene that night, you would have heard the desperate prayers of, “Lord, help me find my phone! I need my phone!”

“Do you?” He seemed to be saying, ” Or do you need me?”

Come on. We might as well have said I was in the desert. How else would I get help?

Just like that, an old pickup came cruising down the quiet, abandoned dirt road. There was nothing to do but stand by my wreck of a car and hope for the best. Would their intentions be good or bad? I was about to find out.

You people, they were angels. Silver-haired ones. Take it as you wish, but either way, their intentions were good. Very, very good. Bless their dear hearts.

So what was I left with that night?

Ever-faithful God, His ever-faithful Word, people, a life that I was fortunate yet to live, and the song that still played strong through my stereo as I searched frantically for what I was desperately “needing”:a choir singing, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”.

Please listen up for one more thing before I go. I’m still learning these lessons. I’m still processing things from way back then. I’m still just as human as anyone. And as gracious as so many of you were to say, “I’m so glad you’re still alive!” and “God must have a plan for you!” , please take this with you when you go: I’m so glad you’re still alive too, and because you’re still blessing this earth with your presence, that must mean God has a plan for you too.

There’s always a reason you’re alive. Let’s pursue the reason and the One behind it together.